Government transit data gets techies’ gears spinning for new apps

In a 10th-floor meeting room in Crystal City, Malynda Chizek Frouard rode a red Capital Bikeshare bike to the front of the room as about 60 fellow techies and transportation buffs watched.

She had come to share her new Web site,, which allows Capital Bikeshare users to compete for the highest mileage.

“I’m pretty sure I win the ‘Queen of the Nerds’ award tonight!” said Chizek Frouard, 31, a resident of Bethesda, pointing to the bright-blue astronaut costume she’d worn in the pre-Halloween spirit.

It was the ideal place to embrace one’s inner geek. After all, Chizek Frouard’s audience was the Transportation Techies — a group of computer coders, urban planners, graduate students and self-described transportation nerds from across the Washington region. Members gather at monthly “hack nights” to eat pizza, drink beer and share cool ways they’ve used government data to better estimate Metro train arrivals, find the closest parking space, plot the fastest walking routes and predict when busy Bikeshare stations will run out of bikes.

“I wanted to create a place where coders could nerd out completely,” said programmer Michael Schade, 52, who created the group via two years ago. “At the end of the day, it’s just a show and tell of really cool stuff. . . . We’re building a community of people who care about these things and want to use these tools.”


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